I attended a party hosted by one of my university

English professors. The party was timid. Everyone

in a house full of friendless people. Soon, I see

my professor is flirting on my date. I am across the patio

talking to a stoned lonely classmate near the nacho

salsa station, and my prof, swinging jigging away,

making my date giggle, smile, move, bob and sway.

 

The world is glorious and cruel. Full of voids

impossible to fill and so hard to ignore.

 

My professor was working hard to diminish

his middle-age pansa: running his hand through his hair,

leaning forward, holding that cigarette but not lighting it.

Does this really work? When does his ex step in? And I wonder

if this is me in twenty years. Drifting to bad jazz, citing Derrida,

considering busted summers in Prague, then back to all this,

hosting a house of students and colleagues

without anyone causing a lucha, because no one thinks anything

is worth throwing a punch. Nada happens.

 

I had this friend who launched off a table

in a crowded bar because he saw his novia

dancing with a gringo. Did my friend think she really

had a Sancho? (Remember this: action is often a good

remedy for grief). He flew into the dancers,

a super-villain returning to earth. His cape a flash

of cursing. A big fight, the boogying couples scattering

off the dancefloor. After the incident, and him

banished from the club, I spied him and la novia, seated

on a curb in the parking lot. She cupping his face

in tenderness insisting, she loved him, loved

him.  Chanting it. The night sky believing all

of her. My friend looking down into the alley,

discovering his bruises, adjusting his ripped

camisa, her words all shadow and dusk.

 

Christopher Rubio-Goldsmith

Christopher Rubio-Goldsmith was born in Merida, Yucatan, grew up in Tucson, Arizona and taught English at Tucson High School for 27 years. Much of his work explores growing up near the border, being raised biracial/bilingual, and teaching in a large urban school where 70% of the students are American/Mexican. A Pushcart and Best of the Net nominee, his writings will appear in Drunk Monkeys, Inverted Syntax and have been published in Sky Island Journal, Muse, Discretionary Love and other places too. His wife, Kelly, sometimes edits his work, and the two cats seem happy.

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